Happy New Year everyone! 2017 is in full effect and resolutions have been set! In fact, I’ve spoken to a lot of you about goals for 2017 and nutrition changes you hope to make as we slide into the new year and I’m pleasantly encouraged. Many of you have mentioned creating good habits like more protein, less drinking and no sweets. Small simple steps that will go a long way in improving more than just fitness.
I also talked with a few people who when asked what their goals were, merely shrugged and offered up an unenthusiastic, “Mehh”. I know its not because they don't care, but because they don't know. Self assessment is vital in knowing which way to go in regards to lifestyle choices.
For this weeks blog post, I wanted to hopefully guide those of you on the fence and maybe even help those who are already instilling a few habits. While instilling good practices is great, there is a balance to be had.
It was June-July, 2015. I was working in a CrossFit gym in Florida and not making enough money. After coaching and training, I would go home and inevitably consume a few (6) Pabst Blue Ribbons. Not daily but probably more than would be considered “therapeutic’. I also wasn't aware of (Read: ignoring) the fact that alcohol had calories. It was in one of my more self deprecating moments that I realized two things. The first, I probably drink too much, the second, I work too damn hard for too little. The thinking continued well into the evening and eventually I was left with this thought; “My biggest regret with my careers is that I wasn't able to find a way to make the most amount of money doing the least amount of work.
*Note: Calories in 6 Pabst Blue Ribbon Beers: 864.
Reading that, you may think I am condoning the fact that its cool to be lazy, and if you know me, that may serve to only perpetuate that thought. Not true. I respect the hustle. Ive done the hustle, and most days, I live to hustle. Its sexy, its dirty and raw but entirely unsustainable. You can be at the upper echelon of productivity and eventually, one day, you pitter out and fade back into taking shortcuts and cutting corners. It ebbs and flows.
What I am really saying is this: There is a word used to describe doing way more work than is necessary for a desired outcome. It’s stupidity. Check out these examples:
“I want a Coca-Cola. Let me go on amazon.com…oh they only sell 24 packs. Ill order a case, have it shipped to my mom in the US and she can ship one can over to Hong Kong for me. Easy.”
“I want to make 100k a year. I see two jobs offering the same salary but at one, I will be expected to work 80 hours a week and the other is only 40. I choose 80 hours a week because I love to hustle.”
Most of my anecdotes are rife with errors from either my own personal embellishment or poor memory, but this can be applied in many other areas of life. Getting back to nutrition, it’s easy to do entirely too much when only a little will do. To put it another way, starting a diet can literally twist turn your whole life upside down.
When I first started CrossFit, the fad at that time was the “Paleo Diet.” You might have heard of it or maybe even tried it. It sounds good on paper, “Eat what our paleolithic ancestors ate” Ooh! I get to be a caveman. Well guess what, it sucked. It forced you to become a social outcast by turning down fun evenings with friends and if you did manage to make it out, you usually had to bring a special meal in a tupperware container or scoff at the waiter when he said that he had no idea what the hell gluten was. Paleo was expensive, it was difficult to maintain and it was the equivalent of working 80 hours a week when just 40 would do. Oh, and to make matters worse, you couldn't eat bread.
*Note: They do have recipes for paleo bread, but the first ingredient is “lawn trimmings”
I want to try a simplify this if possible. I have created three tiers of nutrition. See which one you fall into.
Tier 3: You have a lot of bad habits and, at times, are borderline dangerous. You have no dietary knowledge or motivation.
Tier 2: You randomly apply good eating habits but overall, you are inconsistent and occasionally display risky behavior.
Tier 1: You are dialed in. Good habits about 80-90% of the time but you're also human and occasionally have a cheat meal or two.
There is a fundamental challenge with a lot of diet programs and fads out there. They ask the user to make a lot of wholesale changes when baby steps might be the best approach. Or lets say you drink four sodas a day and eat terribly. Maybe our first step is a week without soda. Then the next week, no soda and no sugars. The next week, no sugar, soda or booze. Small steps are small victories. Use each one as a stepping stone to widespread changes over a long term, not a rapid fix that will probably fall flat in a few days time. I truly think that works as the best approach for not only dieting but any aspect of life. Think about that as we meander halfway through January and start taking those small steps towards a better you.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.